Saturday, January 22nd | 21 Shevat 5782

July 24, 2019 4:18 pm

Prominent Israelis Call for Residency Permit to Be Granted to Palestinian Who Has Faced Persecution for Helping Jewish Children After Terror Attack

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

The scene of a Palestinian terrorist attack in the West Bank. Photo: Reuters / Ammar Awad.

A legendary Israeli actress and the head of the council of northern West Bank communities have sent a joint letter to the interior minister asking for a Palestinian man who rescued Jewish children after a terror attack to be granted residency in Israel.

According to the Israeli news site Mako, the Palestinian man, identified only as “A,” has faced brutal persecution since he helped save the ten children of Rabbi Michael Mark following a drive-by shooting attack south of Hebron in 2016. Rabbi Mark himself was killed in the attack.

A, who lived near Hebron, has since been referred to as a traitor by the Palestinian Authority. He has been harassed, had Molotov cocktails thrown at his house, and has been unable to find employment.

To escape the persecution and take the pressure off his family, A fled to Israel, but was unable to obtain residency and a work permit, despite the efforts of the Mark family to help him. He currently lives on a beach in a tent, with no way to earn a living.

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Having heard of the situation, Israel Prize-winning actress Gila Almagor and Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan — who are on opposite sides of the political spectrum — sent a letter to Interior Minister Aryeh Deri on A’s behalf.

“There is no doubt that every person who has taken part in this understands that it is proper to give this person, who has suffered the worst, who has lost his home, and whose three-year-old son does not know him and goes hungry simply because his father helped the Jews, receives a residency permit in the State of Israel,” they wrote.

“It is our opinion that this is a moral issue of the first order,” they added. “As our sages have said: ‘Anyone who saves a single life, it is as if he saved an entire world.’ We as a society must be committed to this.”

They also said the issue was related to security as well, as Palestinians who help Jews must know they can find a home in Israel if they are persecuted by their fellow Palestinians.

Referring to a story from the book of Joshua, Dagan said, “Already from the first time the people of Israel entered the land, this principle was established. Rahav the prostitute, who was part of the Canaanite people, helped the spies who came to spy on Jericho, and thus she and her family were saved.”

“When it is interwoven with a practical benefit — encouragement to help victims — this moral duty is doubled,” he added. “There must be very significant reasons to deviate from this obligation and to not to give proper protection to those who helped save lives.”

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